|Index||6 reviews in total|
I can't believe so many people gave negative comments about this movie.
And I have to say, I'm getting tired of people giving negative comments
on a movie from a foreign country, about which they know nothing, after
seeing a badly dubbed version.. This movie is great. It's amazing,
though not surprising, how Citti can keep your attention up without
ever leaving the casotto.. I'm actually surprised that people found it
boring. I was planning to see the beginning of it, and go out, but I
just could not stop until the end. You follow a few parallel stories
from a fixed point of view, sort of similar to Scola's "La cena", but
kind of lighter, even though I wouldn't call this a comedy. It is a bit
surrealistic, but in a very realistic and convincing way. It features a
lot of the best actors of the time, including Tognazzi, Melato,
So what's wrong with you guys? Reading comments to Italian movies, I sometimes have the sensation that the few Americans interested in Italian movies are just looking for the sleazy details, and completely miss or misunderstand all the rest. There's a lot more to Italian movies than sleaze. If you willingly watch one, and don't get it, before firing up low votes and negative comments, please consider the possibility that, well, yes, maybe something was "lost in translation".. and it might not just be the lines, but also the tone, accents, gestures, dressing codes, cultural, social and historical background... For example, the attitude of the two girls, hanging around with two guys and hoping they will get food for free, might sound unlikely in a "Sex and the city" episode, but looks perfectly natural in the Rome of the seventies.
Most Italian directors put no effort in making their products available to foreigners, and even when they do, you still see a different movie if you're from here. Just don't blame it on the movie!
If French director Jaques Tati were born in Italy, had a much smaller budget and was somewhat of a pervert he probably would have directed films like "In the Beachouse", a wildly offbeat comedy with no plot! The entire movie more-or-less takes place in an ocean-side dressing house, a series of reoccurring site-gags and hilarious character studies. A real-time interaction between a large group of unusual people including 2 prostitutes and their reluctant and somewhat bizarre client, an all-girl swim team, a large black dog and a scene stealing white chihuahua, and a couple trying to get their knocked-up under age grand daughter laid so they can pin the blame on some poor schmuck and marry her off. The grand daughter, incidentally, is played by a nubile Jody Foster (!!!) who probably doesn't mention this film much in her résumé! With a mostly Italian cast including Ugo Tognazzi and featuring Catherine Deneuve in a dream sequence.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this as 'Casotto' in the original Italian without the benefit
of subtitles. My Italian is very sketchy but the tone and gestures of
the players make it less of a hindrance than I expected. Also, it's how
we naturally learn a language, by inference, so with more viewings the
film is better understood and is worth the extra effort.
Even with the grainy picture, the slightly jittery framing and colour washing in and out in some sequences, the film is engaging. I became fascinated with who is next going to come into the casotto and how their lives would intersect. It's a colourful pageant of living textures. People watching on an intimate level. Since it almost all takes place within the walls we almost become the casotto. All the players arrive separately but their lives soon become variously enmeshed and some will change forever.
The sing-song intonation of Italian is one of the things that makes the language lyrically charming and easy on the ear plus I prefer films in their original language; to read subtitles rather than hear someone in a sound-booth mangling the original script and soundtrack whilst their character's lips move out-of-sync. Disappointingly Jodie Foster (the up-the-duff granddaughter honey-trap) was dubbed, and with exactly the wrong kind of voice. She appeared to be speaking her lines in Italian and Foster has a gift for languages. I can't imagine her lines were so bad that they had to be dubbed.
Filmmaking was different in the 1970's and this kind of Italian cinema may be hard to understand or follow for other audiences. Modern viewers should put aside their unrealistically high-expectations if they want to find this film accessible. If you like to see films that, despite appearances, have been thought out and want to follow the construction, this is a good place to start.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CAN YOU HAVE SPOILERS IN A FILM WITH NO PLOT?
Round and round the camera goes, and where it stops... Casotto opens with a spectacular 360-degree panning shot around a deserted beach on the outskirts of Rome. At last, the camera comes to rest on a vacant beach hut where all the action will take place. At once dazzling and irrelevant, this shot sets the tone for most (nay, perhaps all) of the film that follows.
Among the holiday crowds who come to brawl and bicker on the sun-kissed sands, we have - in no special order - a man with two penises, an all-girls swimming team who strip in unison, a couple trying to have sex with third-degree sunburn, a big dog eating a small dog for lunch. The two main 'plots' (and I use this term loosely) have the wife and the mistress of a dead man trying to seduce a broker for his insurance money, and two wily old folks on the look-out for a stud to deflower their nymphet grand-daughter, played by Jodie Foster. (She's already pregnant, you see, so some poor sucker has to take the rap!) When our interest flags, director Sergio Citti treats us to a mock-Surreal dream sequence with Catherine Deneuve as a white-robed, ethereal goddess. (No argument there.) Oh, and Ninetto Davoli wanders in and out drilling peepholes in the wall - just in case anything more lurid is happening next door!
What more can I say? I laughed obligingly all the way through. I was properly impressed by Tonino delli Colli's lustrous camerawork, which overlays the rampant vulgarity with an incongruous glaze of 'class'. Years after seeing Taxi Driver, I was dumbstruck all over again at how sexually knowing Jodie Foster could be at the age of 13. (What a pity Kubrick had to film Lolita before SHE was around to do it justice!) Yet I still don't have a clue as to why Casotto was made, or what sort of twisted mind could have dreamed it up in the first place! It functions, if at all, as a tonier European warm-up for those gross-out American comedies that stormed the world 20 years later.
Antonioni meets the Farrelly Brothers, anyone? Don't all rush at once.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I guess this counts as a spoiler of sorts...
All I really have to say about this movie is that the whole dreadful thing takes place inside a small changing room on an Italian beach. While that may seem a novel concept, the effect is really painful to watch. Every time one of the characters would step outside of the beach house I would find myself desperately clinging to the futile hope that the camera would follow them. It's ironic that this "comedy" (featuring a very young Jodie Foster) did a better job of unintentionally instilling claustrophobia in its audience than Panic Room did intentionally. As far as a plot description goes, who cares? Even if the plots weren't as disjointed, underdeveloped and completely ill-conceived as they were (perhaps something was lost in translation??), the fact that they all took place in this one horribly cramped, confined, positively stifling setting, is enough to justify destroying every copy of this movie ever made, so as not to harm any innocent bystanders.
While many people when they were young might have fantasized about spying on attractive members of the opposite sex as they changed clothes in one of those changing rooms along the beach, actually being stuck in one of these rooms for 90 minutes and having to spy on EVERYONE who comes in is a different thing entirely. The characters in this movie are no more physically appealing than your average beach-goer (one is literally a mutant), and they are even more annoying. The funniest characters are Jodie Foster's grandparents. In one of those wacky Italian scenarios they're trying to foist their already-pregnant granddaughter on some unsuspecting guy who'll then obliged to marry her. Why they'd choose any of the morons in this movie though is beyond me. The worst characters are two idiotic, ugly-looking guys (dubbed with Brooklyn accents) who have unaccountably picked up two reasonably attractive girls (who just want someone to buy them lunch?!), but then one of them gets hit in the head with a canoe (don't ask) and spends the rest of the movie dreaming about sheep, naked women, and Catherine Denueve (in what has to be her most pathetic role). I can think of only three reasons why someone would enjoy this movie: you're a fan of Italian sex comedy (hello? anyone?), you want to leer at a barely pubescent Jodie Foster (have they released John Hinckley from the mental institution yet?), or you want to see some really unattractive people naked. Everyone else should stay out of the casotto.
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